Labour unveils £37bn ‘new deal’ for the NHS

15 May

Jeremy Corbyn has promised a “new deal for the NHS”, pledging to take a million people off hospital waiting lists and impose tough new A&E targets.

The Labour leader outlined plans to invest more than £5bn-a-year in frontline services, funded by a higher rate of income tax on those earning more than £80,000 a year.

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The package will include £10bn of capital funding which would be put into NHS buildings and IT systems, in the aftermath of last week’s cyberattack, to make them “fit for the modern day”.

Aside from the £10bn going to capital funding, the party has not commented on how the rest of the money would be divided up.


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Jeremy Corbyn outlines NHS battlefields

Mr Corbyn used a speech at the Royal College of Nurses conference in Liverpool to accuse the Conservative Government of allowing the health service to be “plundered by private corporations”.

He said: “In the past seven years the Tories have driven our National Health Service into crisis.

“A&E departments are struggling to cope. Waiting lists are soaring and, and as we saw last week, Tory cuts have exposed patient services to cyberattack.

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“Imagine what would happen to the NHS if the Conservatives under Theresa May were to have another five years in power.

“It would be unrecognisable: a national health service in name, cut back, broken up and plundered by private corporations.

“Only Labour will put the NHS back on its feet.


Jeremy Corbyn addresses an NHS rally in London

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“Today we are pledging an extra £37bn over the course of the next Parliament, including £10bn of capital funding to make sure that NHS buildings and IT systems are fit for the modern day.”

Health trusts have struggled to meet targets – dating from the New Labour era – that patients should be seen at A&E within four hours, and should wait no longer than 18 weeks for an operation.

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Labour say those earning more than £80,000 – the top per cent of earners – would be asked to pay more tax.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said this would raise between £4bn and £4.5bn a year to fund the spending pledge. Several billion more would be needed, potentially from business taxes.

Labour’s plan would create a new £500m winter pressures fund to help ensure patients never have to experience a winter crisis like the one of recent months.

The party would also aim to deliver a Cancer Strategy for England in full by 2020, helping 2.5 million people living with cancer.


Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

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Mr Ashworth said: “Ahead of the NHS’ 70th birthday Labour is promising to give the NHS the resources it needs to deliver the best possible service for patients right across the country.

“NHS staff and patients have been let down by the Tories for too long.”

The Conservatives say Labour has given no detail on how the higher taxes would work – as £80,000 is not currently a tax threshold.

A spokesman for the party said the £10bn of capital expenditure had not been funded at all, calling the idea “nonsensical”.


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Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary Norman Lamb said: “You cannot solve the crisis in our NHS and social care services by simply imposing more top-down targets on staff and plucking numbers out of thin air.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a fully costed plan to deliver £6bn more per year for the NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax.”

Labour has already vowed to hike up tax on private medical insurance to pay for free parking at hospitals, and increase the rate of corporation tax to pay for schools.

The Conservatives say they are putting £10bn into the NHS during this five-year period, although a cross-party committee of MPs has questioned the figure.

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